Nightlong firing, shelling near Mongdu rock Teknaf

Myanmar Rakhine state on the other side of Naf RiverProthom Alo file photo

Intermittent gunshots and mortar shell firing took place in several villages near Mongdu town in the Myanmar state of Rakhine from Friday evening to Saturday morning.

As deafening sounds of shelling shook the area in Tenkaf municipality, Whykong, Hinla, and Sabrang of Teknaf upazila, Cox’s Bazar, at least 12,000 people passed sleepless nights in these areas.

Locals said fresh conflict erupted since Thursday following a pause of three days with fighting intensifying on Thursday and Friday nights along with mortar shells being fired from jet planes.

People from his areas heard the sounds of gunshots and mortar shell blasts throughout the night. Children cried out in fear
Whykong union parishad panel chairman Shah Jalal

The Rakhine state can be seen clearly from the Netong hill of Teknaf. Mongdu is in the middle of the Rakhine state. The Naf river is to the west of Mongdu and the Kaladan hill is behind.

Firing and shelling took place to the south of Mongdu town in Kumirkhali, Naichadong, Kwachidong, Shilkhali, Balibazar, Careiprang, and Perangproo villages for the past two days.

The Myanmar government forces and the insurgent armed group Arakan Army have engaged in clashes over taking control and retrieving the border outposts in Balibazar and Kumirkhali.

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Teknaf upazila parishad chairman Nurul Alam said the two sides have been fighting for a month, but fighting apparently intensified over the past two days.

Mostar shell blast jolted the area on this side of the border. People cannot go to the fields for work. Everything stops at the border and there is no sign of stopping the clash.

Teknaf municipality panel mayor Nurul Islam said the sounds of 20-25 mortar shell explosions were heard from the bordering area from Friday evening to early Saturday and 10-15 explosions in the previous day. Both sides have locked into intense firing to take over or retrieve border outposts in the north of Mongdu town in Balibazar and Perangproo. As a result, people in Teknaf are passing sleepless nights.

Whykong union parishad panel chairman Shah Jalal said people from his areas heard the sounds of gunshots and mortar shell blasts throughout the night. Children cried out in fear.

He said the Arakan Army took control of the Totardia area on the bank of Naf river on the other side of the Whykong union two weeks ago, and now the Myanmar security forces are trying to retake it.

Teknaf upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Md Adnan Chowdhury said although loud sounds of renewed firing were heard in several places, no bullets reportedly fell on the Teknaf border.

People living in the Naikhongchhari border of Bandarban and the Ukhiya border of Cox’s Bazar have heard no sounds of firings for three days.

Bandarban’s Ghumdhum union parishad chairman Jahangir Aziz said fighting is currently taking place 30-40 kilometres south of the Ghumdhum border, that is why no sound is being heard.

Ukhiya’s Palongkhali union parishad chairman Gafur Uddin Chowdhury said the Arakan Army surrounded the Mongdu town from three sides and now they are desperate to take over the town while the Myanmar government forces applied all-out strength. As a result, fighting may intensify.

Teknaf-2 Border Guard Bangladesh battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Md Mohiuddin Ahmed said they are closely monitoring the Rakhaine situation and the BGB remains on alert to prevent the infiltration of Rohingya.